Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (2022) Mental health services in Australia, AIHW, Australian Government, accessed 03 July 2022.
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. (2022). Mental health services in Australia. Retrieved from https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia
Mental health services in Australia. Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 17 May 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare. Mental health services in Australia [Internet]. Canberra: Australian Institute of Health and Welfare, 2022 [cited 2022 Jul. 3]. Available from: https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia
Australian Institute of Health and Welfare (AIHW) 2022, Mental health services in Australia, viewed 3 July 2022, https://www.aihw.gov.au/reports/mental-health-services/mental-health-services-in-australia
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The MBS data presented relate to services provided on a fee-for-service basis for which MBS benefits were paid. The year and month is determined from the date the service was processed by Medicare, rather than the date the service was provided. Patient counts for demographic characteristics (e.g. sex, age) are derived from the last service processed in the reference period.
Services Australia collects data on the activity of all persons making claims through the Medicare Benefits Scheme and provides this information to the Department of Health (DoH) (Services Australia 2020). Information collected includes the type of service provided (MBS item number) and the benefit paid by Medicare for the service. The item numbers and benefits paid by Medicare are based on the Medicare benefits schedule book (DOH 2021). Services that are not included in the MBS are not included in the data. The table below lists all MBS items that have been defined as mental health-specific.
281, 282, 2710(a), 2715, 2717
(a) Item discontinued
(b) Item numbers have differing implementation and discontinuation dates. Details are available in the Medical Benefits Schedule books.
Provider type important notes:
Psychiatrist items—pre 1996
Restructuring of Group A8 items occurred as of 1 November 1996. Item numbers 134, 136, 138, 140, 142, 144, 146, 148, 150 and 152 were discontinued as of 31 Oct 1996. Historical psychiatrist data includes services claimed against these item numbers.
Item numbers for claims by people whose mental health was affected by a bushfire during 2019–20 include services provided by:
The BEACH survey was conducted by the Family Medicine Research Centre at the University of Sydney from 1998 to 2016 and supported financially by government and private industry.
BEACH was the only continuous, randomised study of GP activity in the world and the only national program that provided direct linkage of all management actions to the problem. It provided information about GP encounters based on data collected from a sample of GPs. BEACH was unique as it showed a relationship of reason for patient visit and GP management, where it was considered an important source for research into mental health services.
The number of estimated GP encounters deemed to be mental health related from the BEACH survey were greater than the number of Medicare subsidised mental health specific services as not all mental health-related GP encounters were billed using MBS item numbers. The BEACH survey found the proportion of estimated GP mental health-related activity billed as Medicare subsidised mental health specific GP services increased from around 10.6% in 2007–08 to around 18.1% in 2015–16. However, the cessation of the BEACH survey in 2016 prevents ongoing comparison between the BEACH survey data and the MBS data (Britt et al. 2016).
The AIHW is pursuing the identification of more recent alternative data sources to accurately present information on mental health care provided by GPs.
Additional information on the BEACH survey can be obtained from (General practice activity in Australia 2015–16). Details on the data that were collected in the final 18th year of BEACH survey can be found in the archived reports and data section.
Medicare-subsidised psychologist services are services provided by psychologists that are rebateable by Medicare through psychological therapy services, focussed psychological strategies and enhanced primary care items. The data source section lists these item groups with the relevant MBS item numbers. For these items to be eligible for Medicare rebates, the provider must meet the following eligibility requirements and be registered with Medicare Australia.
Medicare rebates for psychological therapy services are only available for services provided by clinical psychologists who are fully registered in the relevant jurisdiction and are members of, or eligible for membership with, the Australian Psychological Society’s College of Clinical Psychologists. Clinical membership is only available for registered psychologists who have completed the standard 4 years of study in psychology and attained an accredited doctorate degree in clinical psychology or master’s degree in clinical psychology with 1 year of supervised post-masters clinical psychology experience.
Medicare rebates for focussed psychological strategies and enhanced primary care are available for services provided by psychologists who are fully registered in the relevant jurisdiction regardless of any specialist clinical training. Registered psychologists must complete the standard 4 years of study in psychology with an additional 2 years of supervised practice, postgraduate coursework or a research degree, and meet any other jurisdiction-specific requirement for registration (DOH 2019: 77–78, 1219–1222, 1288–1291).
Clinical psychologist includes psychological therapy services provided only by clinical psychologists. Psychologist (other) includes services provided by both clinical psychologists and other psychologists (DOH 2019: 77–78, 1286–1287, 1225–1231, 1239–1244, 1291–1294, 1305–1308, 1337).
Britt H, Miller GC, Henderson J, Bayram C, Harrison C, Valenti L, Wong C, Gordon J, Pollack AJ, Pan Y, Charles J. 2016. General practice activity in Australia 2015–16. General practice series no. 40. Sydney: Sydney University Press.
DoH (Department of Health) 2019. Medicare Benefits Schedule Book, effective 14 September 2019. Viewed on 14 September 2019.
DOH 2020 Additional 10 MBS mental health sessions during COVID-19 under the Better Access Pandemic Support measureViewed on 7 April 2021.
DoH 2021 Medicare Benefits Schedule Book, effective 9 February 2021. Viewed on 9 February 2021.
Services Australia 2020. Education guide - Better Access to mental health care for eligible health professionals. Better access to mental health care: fact sheet for professionals. Viewed on 7 April 2021.
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